Farmers led by Chidambaram MLA K Balakrishnan have begun an indefinite hunger strike on Tuesday demanding the release of Veeranam water for irrigation here. They also staged a road blockade at Lalpet pressing the same demand.
The farmers lamented that around 1 lakh acre of samba crops in Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil had been withering due to lack of water.
“Farmers in Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil areas are depending on Veeranam water for irrigation. Currently, the water level at lower Anicut stands at 8 ft and the level at Veeranam Lake is 42.3 ft. It seems officials have not yet decided to release Veeranam water for irrigation. But, water from this lake is being taken to Chennai for drinking purpose. Hence, we are on an indefinite hunger strike,” MLA Balakrishnan told Express. The farmers said that if the authorities were not willing to release water, the entire samba crop in this region would be lost. The farmers also stated that the hunger strike would continue till the required water was opened for irrigation.
CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan said, “So far, seven farmers ended their lives in the delta districts. Government should take measures to stop this. Farmers should be given `25,000 per acre as relief.”
Meanwhile, farmers association leaders K V Elankeeran and P Vinayagamurthy led a road blockade on Chidambaram-Tiruchy Road. Verbal altercations between the police and the farmers worsened the situation. Traffic was affected for almost three hours here. Sub-collector L Subramaniyan and DSP Arumugasamy rushed to the spot and pacified the farmers.